Archive for June, 2006

06/25/06-Exit Monarch Pass

Monday, June 26th, 2006

25 mountain bikers in 7 miles. Ug.
Woke up in the clouds, which made for a dramatic morning.

06/24/06- TWO Bananas

Monday, June 26th, 2006

The ladies I met yesterday brought me two bananas, convienitently while I
was having lunch. I ate them straight away, thanking them.
Saw lots of mountain bikers today. Ug.
The weather the last two days has been great: sunny but not too hot. I’m
hoping the big rains will come while I am in town, but on days like today
where I thought the thunder would crack, it’s never really materialized.
To distract myself from mind chatter about the bikes and motorcycles on
the trail and the monotony of forest walking, I’ve been listening to lots
of music while hiking: Too much Alanis, not enough Rufus.
Got to watch an elk (the only one of the day) with fuzzy new antlers
grazing this evening. I’m camped near the lean-to.

06/24/06- Not Angry?

Monday, June 26th, 2006

I’ve been trying very hard to not get angry about mountain bikes, dirt
bikes, motorcycles and ATVs on the CDT.
On the PCT, where they were clearly and explicity not allowed, I threw
fits when I encountered riders. That got me nowhere, other than to help
me see the seething anger I walk through the world with.
My recollection is that the Presidential action that established the
National Scenic Trails said that they were for people on foot and on
horseback only. The fact that local, state and national organizations have
ignored that mandate doesn’t make it right.
Bikes and hiking are incompatible uses. I had a biker going more than
20mph toward me today. He controlled his bike, but he could have just as
easily been going that fast around a corner. I’m in a high bike use area
on a weekend. I have to be alert to not getting smashed by a bike.

06/23/06-The Truth

Monday, June 26th, 2006

I saw five motorcycles on the CDT today. I turned my back when they passed.
I met two lightweight backpackers today. I shared pleasantries and water
information with these two women.
I also met two women who were day hiking the Colorado Trail. I may see
then tomorrow, and they may bring me a banana. Simple joys.
My mileage the last couple of days has been in the high teens. Yippee.
When I find water at a spring, I’ve not been filtering it. So far, so good.

06/23/06-Simple Joys

Monday, June 26th, 2006

I watched a coyote hunt a crow today in a meadow. I arrived at the edge
of the meadow in the late afternoon and thought to stop and scan. This
time, I saw something: the coyote, golden and blonde, walking through the
grass, blonde and green. It had a non-chalant cadence to its stride, but
I saw that it was fixed on a black crow on the ground. I was part of the
dark ring of trees, so with that and my stillness, I remained invisible.
The crow knew what was up, and the coyote got maybe 10′ from the crow
before the crow alit with ease. The coyote moved to sniff where the crow
had been.
I gave up watching and began hiking. The energy changed suddenly. The
coyote, who had been as cool and unflappable, began a fast run away from
me. In its mind, and to my eye, it had changed from the hunter to the
hunted.
This coyote had no reason to fear me other than that I am human, and
humans have killed coyotes.

06/22/06-Water

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Last year was the second-wettest winter on record for Colorado. This year
was the driest on record, or so says someone who can quote the Farmer’s
Almanac.
I carried 4+ liters of water up to the Divide tonight. I was short on
water last night, and I hate sleeping that way. My body likes lots of
water to heal and thrive. I left camp this morning with about a cup of
water (8 oz), walked for a number of miles, and found my next source, a
solar well (CO 31 or 32), dry.
Luckily, in under an hour, I came across an unmarked fenced spring. Water
never tasted so sweet. I filled up, happy to have the extra weight.
I knew, from the Almanac Guy, that north of CO Hwy 114, I’d have to watch
my water.
I kept my water full all day and now I’m on the Divide, on a peak, hoping
that the water sources noted on the maps and guide book are flowing when I
arrive tomorrow.

06/21/06-1-Potential & Wonder

Monday, June 26th, 2006

This morning feels full of potential and wonder. I’m dropping low (below
10,000′), I’m in a river valley, and it’s the solstice. I was awake with
energy last night, restless and excited. I don’t know why.

06/21/06-2-Happy Solstice

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Lots of change today. I dropped 3,000′ down the Cochetopa River. I’m
below 10,000′ for the first time in Colorado this year. It’s warmer,
plants are bigger, and more is in bloom.
It’s SO NICE to not be cowering in my tent trying to stay warm and out o
the wind. After dinner, I roamed about taking photos in the evening
light.
I saw a couple of new animals today. The first was early in the day. I
was as big as a large squirel, but didn’t move like a squirel. My best
guess is a pine marten, but I don’t know if they have those here.
Next was an antelope. It looked different than the ones I saw in Wyoming,
but maybe not. Then while getting water in a fenced spring, I saw an 8″
snake. I didn’t scream. It slithered away as I was looking a the entire
spinal column and pelvis of an elk. Some of the bones from other limbs
were around to. It was so fresh that they were still attached to each
other.
While walking to where I am camped, I saw a lot of cat territory marking.
Hmmm.
The landscape has changed dramatically. It started when I walked by a
pine tree. I really noticed it after miles of spruce. Spent most of the
day in or in sight of aspen trees. I’m now walking through gently rolling
hills while still being over 9,000′.
I’ve been amazed how volcanic this section of the Rockies is.
Seeing lots of blue and white iris in bloom.

06/20/06-Mini Wildlife Report

Monday, June 26th, 2006

1 bear
1 weasel
1 mule deer
2 elk
3 pikas
Many beaver dams

06/20/06-Another Day on the Trail

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Heard coyotes last night after going to bed.
Saw a bear as I was leaving Snow Mesa. It was small, so I suspect it got
kicked out when a new litter (?) came along. Right after that, I got many
good looks at a curious weasel. At least I think it was a weasel. It was
incredibly thin and long. It ran across the trail in front of me, looked
openly at me from behind some rocks, ran and peered several more times.
Way cool.
Today was ups and downs. Saw five other people. Three were doing all or
part of the Colorado Trail, southbound. The other two I came across at
lunch. They are section hiking the Colorado CDT at a very leisiurely
pace.
I thought today about a comedy sketch about proper food storage and
protection from bears.
Decided not to talk the alternate route for San Luis Peak. It was too
late in the day to start summitting a fourteener, no matter how easy.